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Villette


Published February 10, 2007


LibriVox recording of Villette by Charlotte Brontë.

After a tragedy in her family, Lucy Snow leaves her home to become a teacher at a French boarding school. Lucy soon begins to fight against an overwhelming sense of desolation. Meeting a charming doctor and a strict, peculiar schoolmaster changes her life forever– and threatens to break her spirit. (summary by heatherausten)

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Source Librivox recording of a public-domain text
Run time 20:25:58

Reviews

Reviewer: dahszil - - June 10, 2015
Subject: fine readers, a novel by one of the greats but
for those of us for various reasons--my excuse being speech/hearing defect, and chronic neurosis--don't "parlay the French" it becomes difficult. However if you listen with utmost concentration in the following context read in english you can, or believe you had, figure out the many short French passages that pepper the whole novel. I always tell people English is my second and ONLY language :)..... I suppose it is a soft spot in me but its worth listening just to hear the British female voices. Chip, who read the first chapter, has that classic American male voice over, radio and tv voice of the late 1950's to perhaps early 70's was also nice to hear, nostalgia i suppose. again, thank you so much Librivox, IA, volunteers and staff
Reviewer: katknit - - August 11, 2009
Subject: Villette: Teaching and Learning
The heroine of this lesser known of Charlotte Bronte's novels is called Lucy Snowe, which means "light" and "cold". Thrown upon her own resources at the tender age of 14, Lucy sets out for France and, by the skin of her teeth, lands a job at a girls' school in Villete. As her name suggests, Lucy holds herself aloof from all the usual interests of young women. Coincidence and improbability plays major roles in the plot of this novel, and if the reader is intolerant of such, the book will not satisfy. Rich in symbolism, Villette serves as a metaphor for the lives of women in Victorian Europe. Particularly striking is the mystery of the spectral nun who appears in garret and garden cloister. For the modern reader, Villette suffers from too much "sermonizing." It's possible, however, to balance the religiosity with the humor invested in relatively minor characters, such as the proto-feminist Ginevra Fanshawe, who "has suffered less than any" other woman in Lucy's world. Ginevra is refreshingly, sometimes comedically, unrestricted by the conventions of her society. It requires but little imagination to hear the voice of Charlotte herself, who indeed lived much of her life in similar circumstances, in the thoughts and soliloquies of Lucy. In the end, Lucy's defensive remoteness is breached, but the reader is left to decide exactly how her story plays out.
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